Women at Instabase

Sep 22,2022

Dominique Walter was drawn to Instabase for its coveted tech trio: great people, great product, and great customers. After being a part of a number of infrastructure-focused startups, she believes that Instabase has clearly hit a sweet spot with a strong product-market fit for business-impacting tech at a great moment in time.
Read more about Dominique in the blog post below!

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, and walk me through your career journey thus far?

I started my career at Intel where I held various positions in sales strategy, planning, and operations. Intel is exceptionally strong in its operations practices and rigor, and I am grateful for the foundation I built during my tenure there. After being at Intel for 10 years, I moved to a startup where I was employee number 50, and was one of the first few women on the team. It was a huge learning experience going from working at a large company to being at a startup where I built and managed all sales operations functions, growing our ARR 100x, and ultimately getting acquired by Cisco. From there, I stood up Revenue Operations at another infrastructure startup, drove GTM SaaS transformation and cloud sales acceleration at  VMware, and then ran GTM strategy and planning at UiPath.  When I first met the GTM team at Instabase and discussed more about what the company was building, I jumped at the opportunity to join the team at this phase.  Instabase is clearly a place where the entire team is encouraged to have a seat at the table and grow together.  I made the move in July, and have really enjoyed the journey thus far! 

What sets Instabase apart from other startups, or companies, you have worked at?

Instabase is unlike other startups in many ways, but one of the main differences is our technology. Instabase’s product saves customers time and money solving some of the most complex business problems. After being a part of a number of infrastructure-focused startups, I understand the risk of clearly differentiated technology not truly impacting the business in a meaningful way. Instabase has clearly hit a sweet spot with a strong product-market fit for business-impacting tech at a great moment in time. Another major difference is our team and culture. You are empowered, even expected, to take ownership, drive change, and truly grow in your career, all while being able to make mistakes in the open, and encouraged to learn from those mistakes along the way. 

Have you had any mentors or inspirational women that have had an impact on you?

I have been incredibly fortunate to have had great women mentors throughout my career, but I have also actively sought mentorship from people who are very different from myself, and who approach problems differently than I would. By not limiting yourself to a particular mentor profile, you gain access to many diverse opinions and ideas.  Earlier in my career, I would seek out the person who had “gone before” and built my function at a company I really respected.  I took the initiative to go to networking events, and had one main goal: where is the company that is doing the best work, or has the best product, and who is the person who built it? That was the person I wanted to mentor me. When I found that person, I took them to lunch, was given access to ideas for what made their company work, and found creative ways to tackle issues I saw as I was building.

Have you ever dealt with Imposter Syndrome and how did you overcome it?

As a leader, I know we all have different perspectives and strengths and I’ve come to terms with the fact that I cannot possibly know all areas of the business.  Instead, I focus on bringing my best to the table and encourage others to bring their strengths forward so together we can drive the best results as a team.  

Creating an environment where we can all admit we don’t know everything about a problem and instead ask, what are other people seeing that I might not know, turns any situation into a learning experience. My advice to combat imposter syndrome is to focus on the pieces you bring to the table, and less about how other people *could* be judging you for what you may not know.  This way of thinking fosters a collaborative environment where everyone is working together as a team towards the common goal of removing roadblocks and problems before they happen. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to women starting in their careers?

Don’t over-rotate to the expectations that success is in titles or prestigious positions, particularly early in your career. Instead, focus on being the best at the work you are initially asked to do, focus on what you enjoy about the current role, and which parts you want to grow. Often, I find that women feel pressure to have big titles, manage impressive teams, or influence high-level executives as the only metric of success, but behind the scenes are struggling with confidence, imposter syndrome, or not enjoying their daily work life. By removing the pressure, focusing on being the best in your area, and asking for opportunities in the work you enjoy and find most fulfilling, your work will shine.  As it shines, you will more often than not find yourself being pulled into bigger opportunities organically, or seeking out new ways to do more of what you love best.  If it is problem-solving, analyzing data, or keeping projects on track, all of those skills can be applied in different types of roles across a business. Spending time getting to know what you enjoy and where your core strengths lie, gives you a better long-term outcome.  I took at least 4 lateral steps to get to the part of my role that I love the best, and can genuinely say I love the roles I’ve had along the way and where I am now.  Be willing to stay curious and take lateral moves to get to an area where you are more interested in, and help you find out what you are passionate about in the long term.